Mar 31, 2023
Sleeping problems are a common side effect for cancer patients due to medication side effects, treatments, and other lifestyle factors that may be hindering the ability to get a restful night’s sleep.
Research shows that sleep helps to regulate blood sugar, prevent brain fog and forgetfulness, reduce stress, improve your mood, and strengthen your immune system. All these benefits of good sleep improve both internal health and day-to-day quality of life.1
The first thing to try when looking to improve sleep is establishing an effective nightly wind-down routine. This can include lifestyle modifications like going to bed at the same time every night, changing the timing of your medications, practicing meditation, controlling the temperature in the room before and during sleep, and turning off all screens 1-2 hours before bed. Establishing a consistent sleep routine is an easy way to prime your body and brain for a good night’s sleep.
Exercise has been studied in cancer patients and was shown to help promote sleep and relieve stress.5 This may make you feel more tired at the end of the day to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night. However, it’s important not to engage in vigorous exercises close to bedtime as this can prevent you from being able to fall asleep. Save your hard workouts for earlier in the day and choose more soothing exercises like yoga or stretching for evening movement.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation can be useful relaxation techniques to help you get into a calm state before bed. This can include guided meditation, imagery exercises, calming music, and breathing exercises. Check out OncoPower’s meditation resources or set up an appointment with our meditation specialist.
While you might not think of your eating habits as contributing to sleep disturbances, there are a few eating behaviors you can change to help you fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Try to avoid drinking caffeine post 2 pm or about 6-8 hours before bedtime. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can make you feel alert and prevent you from falling asleep. Additionally, although a sedative, alcohol can also contribute to sleep problems by reducing the amount of time you are in REM sleep, the most mentally restorative part of the sleep cycle. It’s best to avoid alcohol when experiencing trouble sleeping.6
Melatonin is a hormone that controls the body’s sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin production naturally goes down during the day when it’s light out and increases at night when it’s dark to make you tired and get the body ready for sleep. You can try adding natural melatonin-enhancing foods like nuts, oats, tart cherries, and Gogi berries to your meals and snacks to boost your melatonin.7
If lifestyle modifications are not helping to alleviate your sleep disturbances, some medications may be temporarily used to help with sleep. However, it’s important to consult your care team before taking any medications, supplements, or herbs, including CBD, that claim to help with sleep. This is because they can sometimes cause unwanted drug interactions with cancer medications.
If you are experiencing trouble sleeping, your provider may order a sleep study to assess you for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which your breathing may stop or get very shallow while sleeping. These breathing disturbances may cause individuals to feel fatigued the next day despite sleeping for an appropriate amount of time. Consult a doctor or sleep specialist to learn more about making a plan to address your sleep apnea.2
Making sleep a priority is essential for overall wellness, but it is especially important after a cancer diagnosis. If you have any questions about sleep, join our community, and be sure to check out the free meditation resources on the OncoPower App.
Virginia, United States
I am a HER2 negative ER positive stage IV breast cancer patient. Last year, wonderful doctors here suggested me to test for PIK3CA mutation (cobas® PIK3CA Mutation Test). It was found positive.
My Newport Beach oncologist put me Piqray + Faslodex combo since nine months. I got test reports two months in a row. THANK GOD, my tumor is stable! Thank you Doctors! I urge members with stage 4 cancer here not to lose hope or give up.
Florida, United States
I had posted last year about my husband who has been diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer. His is an esophageal squamous cell carcinoma type, so there was a consensus among his oncologist at FCS and Oncopower doctors here that Opdivo + Yervoy is the best option I am happy to share an update that he is doing well. His appetite has increased, follows recommended diet and regained some of the weight. We will keep our fingers crossed though!
Pennsylvania, United States
That is why i like this app .. always incorporating alternative and complimentary services that are effective.
Iowa , United States
Dr. Josh McFarlane, Thank you. I am planning to subscribe for premium service, and work with Dt. Tlemcani, the breast oncologist recommended by many patients here.
Western Cape, South Africa
Wow, thank you so very much ! I have no words for your kindness and support. I appreciate it very much!
Floroda United States
I have used it. Dr. T, Dr. Luini, Dr. Shah and Dr. Koduru are all very passionate about patients. I recommend it any day because you can get multiple doctors to take a look at the issue.
The tool is super easy. I can’t think of a more affordable online doctor service.
Florida, United States
Yes, by the Grace of God, there we go 🫂 † What helps me is music, has always relaxed me. I too had chemo and almost done with radiation treatments to treat breast cancer, along with surgery. I empathize with you and so blessed to have found this awesome app as well. Made me so happy to know there are doctors here to advise me along with other feedbacks from many others going thru the same or similar as me. When two or more gather 🤗 stay strong 💪
New York, United States
My husband is a Stage IIIB non small cell lung cancer, unresectable. Underwent concurrent chemotherapy with radiation therapy and now on Imfinzi maintenance since November 2020. So far okay.
Docs, Thank you all here for suggestions. Warriors for your support.
California, United States
Thank you guys .This App is great A lot of support.